eke out

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eke out (third-person singular simple present ekes out, present participle eking out, simple past and past participle eked out)

  1. (transitive) To supplement.
    • 1871, John Stuart Mill, 16px Wikisource logo Principles of Political Economy, p. 359:
      A majority of the properties are so small as not to afford a subsistence to the proprietors, of whom, according to some computations, as many as three millions are obliged to eke out their means of support either by working for hire, or by taking additional land []
    • 1934, Robert Graves, I, Claudius, Penguin, 1953, Chapter 1, p. 9,
      [] it is indeed Claudius himself who is writing this book, and no mere secretary of his, and not one of those official annalists, either, to whom public men are in the habit of communicating their recollections, in the hope that elegant writing will eke out meagreness of subject-matter and flattery soften vices.
    The old man eked out his pension by selling vegetables from his garden.
  2. (transitive) To obtain with difficulty or effort.
    He eked out a living selling vegetables from the garden.
    • 2012 July 11, Ben Perry, “Branson's spaceship steals the spotlight at airshow”, in Yahoo News[1], retrieved 2012-07-12:
      British tycoon Richard Branson stole the show here Wednesday, announcing that he and his family would be on Virgin Galactic's first trip into space, as Airbus and Boeing eked out more plane orders.


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